- Category: Road Atlanta
- Published: Sunday, November 29 -0001 19:00
[caption id="attachment_896" align="alignright" width="300"] Check out the Mazda 787 along with the IMSA GTP Mazda RX-792P and the championship winning IMSA GTO RX-7 at The Mitty this year.[/caption]
A special treat for fans attending The Mitty at Road Atlanta, April 25-28, will be three legendary rotary-engine Mazdas that made their mark in motor racing history.
In 1991 a Mazda 787B shocked the racing world by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driven by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler and Bertrand Gachot, it became the first and only Japanese manufacturer to win the world’s most prestigious sports car race. Its 4-rotor engine proved what Mazda enthusiasts had known for many years, that the rotary engine was reliable and fast. The sister car to that famous Le Mans winner will be at Road Atlanta during The Mitty giving fans a rare opportunity to see the 787 up close.
Another legendary Mazda prototype will be at The Mitty. During the peak of the IMSA GTP era in 1992, Mazda introduced the RX-792P prototype to compete on the Camel GT circuit against the likes of Jaguar, Nissan, Toyota and Porsche. Considered one of the most beautiful GTPs ever raced (and certainly the loudest!), the RX-792 never fulfilled its potential. Plagued by a variety of development issues, the program produced mixed results (driven primarily by Price Cobb and Pete Halsmer), highlighted by a second place at Watkins Glen.
With the IMSA GTP era ending in 1993 in favor of the open-cockpit WSC formula, Mazda cancelled the program after only one year. Nevertheless, the Mazda RX-792P remains one of the most memorable prototypes ever constructed.
In addition to these Mazda prototypes, an IMSA GTO Championship winning 4-rotor Mazda RX-7 will be at The Mitty. The rotary powered Mazda burst on to the racing scene with a stunning one-two finish in the GTU class at the 1979 Daytona 24 Hours. Mazda dominated the GTU class for over 10 years. Moving up to the GTO division, Mazda success continued with a four-rotor machine winning the title in 1991.
The Mitty attracts hundreds of vintage and historic cars to Road Atlanta annually for one of the world’s most prestigious events. Gates open at Road Atlanta on April 25 for four days of racing that is sure to bring back memories! Tickets are available at hsrrace.com. For more info call 800-849-RACE.
By: Ken Breslauer